MS – One Mum’s Inspiring Story
When I wrote my first blog post a little over a year ago I had no idea of the world that blogging would open me up to. One thing that stands out the most though is the people I have met along the way. People who have inspired me and opened my eyes up to things I would have previously missed.
I met one such lady just last week. A lady I have known to smile at on the school run for several years now. A lady who is a mum, just like me. A mum doing the school run day in, day out. A mum who has two beautiful little girls……………………. but that was as far as my knowledge of her went.
All of that changed last week though. She called my name as I was leaving school and walked alongside me opening up to me about something very personal. Something that must have taken a lot of guts for her to approach me about.
Last week I learnt that not only does this lady, who I now know as Amy, do all the mum duties that the rest of us do, she does it whilst living under the shadow of Multiple Sclerosis, a neurological condition that affects the nerves in the brain and spinal cord.
Amy asked me to share her story with my blog readers as over 100,000 people in the UK have MS and it is nearly three times more common in women and men. Here is Amy’s story in her words…………….
“I was diagnosed with relapsing remitting MS nearly three years ago after I developed double vision over a few hours one Thursday morning. I’d had pins and needles in my arms and legs, and other odd sensory problems on and off for about 18 months before hand but the doctors put it down to ‘sensitive nerves’ and I wasn’t too worried. One asked if I was ‘often anxious’ when I reeled out my long list of minor issues, ‘yes’ I replied ‘but not about my health’, I’d never been ill before. When I got double vision I knew something was seriously wrong, my GP saw me the next day and referred me to a neurologist. It took nearly two months for my vision to return to normal during which time I wasn’t able to drive (quite a challenge with after school clubs) and felt tired and pretty miserable. Picking up my daughter from preschool one day and seeing two of her race towards me, not knowing whether I would be able to catch the right one is something that will always stay with me. Parents’ evening was memorable too, as the teacher I saw had three eyes two noses and one very long mouth! I had some very bizarre moments during those months as my brain struggled to reconcile the two images it saw.
Since my diagnosis, I have been incredibly lucky and I haven’t had another significant relapse. Slowly I have started coming to terms with my condition and the uncertainty of life with MS. I don’t know when my next relapse will come, what it will be or how long it will take me to recover. All our lives are uncertain really though -no one knows what’s round the corner – MS has just made me more aware of this fact and made me determined to enjoy my life and try to make the most it. When I was diagnosed I made a list of three things I wanted to do: 1) Run the London marathon, 2) Write a book and 3) Travel to China. I am starting with number 1 and want to raise as much money as I possible can for the MS society in the process.”
At the moment, there is no cure for MS but there is a wide range of possible treatments. Some of the most common symptoms around the time of diagnosis are fatigue (a kind of exhaustion which is out of all proportion to the task undertaken), stumbling more than before, unusual feelings in the skin (such as pins and needles or numbness), slowed thinking or problems with eyesight. All these symptoms can be symptoms of other conditions so it is important to see a health professional to get the correct diagnosis.
We all face challenges in our everyday lives. Some people, like Amy, face even bigger challenges than we can begin to imagine. Amy’s attitude to her MS is inspirational and humbling. Instead of letting MS get the better of her she is seeing it as something that will motivate her to make the best of her life. I admire the fact that upon receiving her diagnosis she wrote a list of things that she wanted to achieve in her life. I have seen my husband through no less than six marathons and I know only too well the determination and hard work that it takes. I have the upmost respect for Amy taking on this challenge and proving to herself that she can do it. If you would like to show your support for Amy and raise money for the MS society you can find Amy’s just giving page here.
Amy has reminded me that there is so much more to everyone than meets the eye. We all have a story to tell, we often just don’t get to know someone well enough to hear it. I feel honoured that Amy chose to share her story with me and that I am now able to share it with you.
Thank you Amy x
(Disclaimer – All of the views expressed here are of mine and Amy’s personal experience. If you would like further information on MS, please visit the MS Trust website.)